Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Katie DiCamillo
10-year-old Opal is lonely. She doesn't have a mom, and her busy, preacher father just moved her from home to a new plot of trailer park in Florida. However, everything changes for Opal when she spontaneously adopts a big, ugly, dirty dog. This messy dog was making a ruckus in the local grocery store, Winn-Dixie. The furious manager was looking for an owner to blame, when Opal claimed the dog was hers, and named it on the spot Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal stumbles into new friends and begins a journey of self-discovery, finally allowing herself to let go of some of her sadness.
Written for late elementary school, early middle school readers, Because of Winn-Dixie steals the hearts of it's readers. This book would work well as a in-class read story, a summer reading item, or simply a spare-time escape. The lessons articulated in this piece about friendship and forgiveness are important for young children to learn, and vital to adults to revisit.